I won't go into the rumors circulating within the local and Chinese media about the odds of an unexpectedly early "withdrawal" of Chinese missiles aimed at Taiwan. Someone else can cover that.
I'll even leave the fascinating possibility of unification of Chinese character education in Taiwan and China to someone else.
What I really want to focus on today is Vice Chair of ARATS, Zhang Mingqing (張銘清), who is apparently in Taiwan again with much less fan fair than his first visit (video below).
In any case, on this visit to Taiwan, Zhang was a speaker at the 15th Conference on Chinese Scientific Modernization (中國現代化學術研討會). The conference is hosted by the very pro-"Greater China" Academic Foundation for Advancing Chinese Modernization (促進中國現代化學術研究基金會).
Zhang spoke words he meant to show brotherly affection but which, in my mind, mask a threat. As he put it, the two sides of the Strait have in the past two years already forged a common destiny based on blood ties. The ECFA, he said, is aimed at promoting the common interest of the Zhonghua Minzu, and the next and most urgent step is to establish a feeling of recognition about Taiwan and China's common destiny.
Probably three or four years ago a business savvy, light-blue voter I knew (with a family business in China) sat through a less-than-sober rant of mine about the importance of preventing Taiwan from becoming overly economically intertwined with China. Otherwise, I railed, Taiwan would have great trouble maintaining its de facto political independence.
She listened politely and responded quietly and much more soberly. "It is probably already too late to do anything about that," she said, and those words shook me then, because they forced me to consider a possibility I had always preferred to ignore or dismiss.
Zhang's words shake me now.